Cole-Hamilton calls for a revised NHS winter package

Responding to the Health Secretary's comments on today's (24th October) Sunday Show, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: 

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Cole-Hamilton lays out radical plans for heating homes

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton has today called for new measures to bring home heating in line with Scotland’s ambitious emission reduction targets, as part of the New Hope for the Climate Emergency series. 

It comes as new strategies are put forward by the UK and Scottish Governments, and the scale of the challenge to decarbonise home heating becomes clear.  

Scotland has around 2.5 million homes, the majority of which will still be in use by the time Scotland reaches its date for net zero. At the moment, heat accounts for a fifth of emissions. 

Alex Cole-Hamilton has now called for the Scottish Government to go further, and introduce:   

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Unconvinced about 'Unboxed' - Stone responds to Government-led creative festival

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has announced a seven-month long festival, backed by £120 million of Government funding. The festival aims to showcase creative talent from all corners of the United Kingdom and will also "engage hundreds of thousands of school children, young people and communities through extensive school outreach and volunteering roles". 

Jamie Stone, Liberal Democrat spokesperson for DCMS responded to the news:

"£120 million of Government-backed funding will be very welcome, especially to a sector that has taken such a hard hit over the past 18 months. Indeed, this initiative is promising.

"However, I maintain serious reservations about the illusion of this festival. This one-off event will not make up for years of major cuts to arts funding at schools and universities, nor will it put right the wrongs that were committed during the pandemic, when thousands of creatives were excluded from the Government Coronavirus financial support schemes. This 'festival' cannot and will not be a means to an end.

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Cole-Hamilton calls for “fresh resources” to alleviate pressure on NHS Lanarkshire

Commenting on NHS Lanarkshire cancelling cancer procedures and raising their risk level to code black, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP urged the government to take immediate action and called for “fresh resources” to alleviate the pressure and to prevent any further disruption.

NHS Lanarkshire emailed staff confirming that their risk level had been increased the army had been asked to step in and provide additional support.

Code black signifies a risk to patient safety and a hospital is at full capacity. This is not the first time a hospital triggers code black due to staff shortages. In July, Raigmore, the Highlands' largest hospital, has been placed on "code black status" after reaching capacity amid increasing Covid cases

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

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Give migrant NHS heroes indefinite leave to remain as NHS faces winter pressure, MPs warn

As the NHS faces winter pressure, Liberal Democrat MP Christine Jardine is bidding to grant migrants working in the NHS indefinite leave to remain in honour of their commitment during the pandemic.

Edinburgh West MP Christine Jardine, who is pushing the second reading of her Bill [22 October] to make law the indefinite leave to remain for health and social care staff, warned “if someone is prepared to risk their life for this country, they must be allowed to live in it.”

The intervention comes amidst increasing concerns the NHS is facing a winter crisis. Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers, said staff feared it could be “one of the most difficult winters the NHS has ever faced.”

The latest NHS statistics reveal the extent of the problem facing overstretched staff. In England, there are 39,000 vacancies for registered nurses while across Scotland over 4,800 nursing and midwifery vacancies are empty. 

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The Health Secretary “dropping the ball” on NHS dentists

Responding to the British Dental Association Scotland warning that the Scottish government's plans for NHS dental services will decimate the service, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

"The Health Secretary has once again dropped the ball on handling the dentistry profession.

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Health Secretary must shore up NHS before risk of COP26 spike

Responding to Professor Devi Sridhar’s warning that COP26 could lead to a rise in Covid-19 cases, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: 

"We saw from the G7 in Cornwall that these major gatherings can bring with them a spike in Covid cases.  

“The Scottish Government should set out what proactive measures it is putting in place to enable NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and others to deal with any rise in cases associated with COP26. 

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Export figures show importance of both EU and UK markets

Responding to new export figures for 2019 published today, Scottish Liberal Democrat finance spokesperson John Ferry said:

"The Scottish Government almost seem embarrassed to admit that we export more than £50bn to our friends in the rest of the UK. That's more than we export to every other country combined.

"The Conservative Government's reckless Brexit will cost us enormously in the long run but that is nothing compared to the damage that would be done if the nationalists get their way and Scotland is wrenched out of the UK internal market too.

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Police report sparks challenge to support women and BME staff

Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has today challenged Police Scotland to boost efforts to support women and BME staff after a new report revealed officer and staff concerns over condescending behaviour and derogatory comments.

The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland (HMICS) report also highlighted data on recruitment, retention, development, and promotion of people from under-represented groups in Police Scotland. 32% (5,709) of police officers are female and 1% (253) are from black or minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds. The figures are not representative of the general Scottish population, which is 51.1% female and 4% BME.

Last year, Dame Elish Angiolini’s report into Scottish policing found evidence of “underlying sexism” within the service, and that “some male officers struggled to cope with having a female manager.”

The HMICS report shows that in the last 12 months:

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Cole-Hamilton warns NHS recovery plan is a shadow of what is needed

Responding to the Health Secretary opening a new NHS training centre opening in Clydebank, Scottish Liberal Democrats leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said:

"The Health Secretary loves a photo op but hates to explain the real reason why we are facing an NHS staffing crisis in the first place: fourteen years of SNP neglect and mismanagement.

"He says that he will do anything within his gift to support NHS staff. I suggest he starts by listening to frontline staff and admitting that his NHS recovery plan is a shadow of what the health service really needs. 

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